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McCleary report card, KapStone vote, TPP reform…

Monday, July 20, 2015




► From AP — State Supreme Court to review education lawsuit progress — The new state budget makes a $1.3 billion down payment toward fully paying the cost of basic education in Washington. But even the lawmakers who crafted the budget do not expect the Supreme Court to be satisfied with their progress toward fulfilling the court’s order on dollars for K-12 schools.

► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Inslee, the ‘greenest’ governor — not so much — Gov. Jay Inslee has long advocated reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But the state Legislature adjourned this month without taking the kind of major climate action desired by Inslee and his environmentalist allies.

Inslee-transpo-signingEDITOR’S NOTE — Clearly, Campaign 2016 is ON at the Times! Last Sunday, they fawned over a possible Inslee opponent. This Sunday, they suggest Inslee’s decision to compromise on an environmental priority in order to secure passage of the biggest transportation package in state history was somehow a failure, as opposed to strong leadership. Everybody, including the Times, said that package was an urgent necessity. It wouldn’t have passed if not for Inslee’s tough decision, but the Senate Republicans who forced that “poison pill” and nearly killed the package (again) are celebrated as victors in the Times for their “strong-armed negotiating.” It appears that Times subscribers can look forward to about 16 more months of stilted political spin regarding the governor.

► In the Columbian — Analysis: Interpersonal frictions leave transportation bill unsatisfactory — Some hailed the package as a compromise that will benefit the entire state. Others blasted it, saying Clark County drivers will be footing the bill to fund projects in other parts of the state. What is clear is, transportation has become one of the most divisive political issues in Southwest Washington. It’s a source of partisan bickering and gamesmanship. Some Southwest Washington lawmakers have earned a reputation for sending mixed messages. And the result, some believe, is that the region doesn’t benefit as much as it could when money is being doled out.




► In the (Longview) Daily News — Union to vote on new KapStone offer — Just two days after KapStone mill workers authorized an unfair labor practice strike, union leaders Friday said they will bring another company contract offer to a membership vote. Voting will take Monday through Wednesday, according to a letter sent to mill workers by the AWPPE bargaining board. The letter did not describe how the latest company offer differs from two others that members have already rejected.

safety-tesoro► From L&I — Tesoro refinery explosion penalty appeal hearing begins Tuesday — A hearing is set to begin Tuesday on Tesoro’s appeal of safety and health violations and more than $2 million in fines related to one of Washington’s worst-ever industrial disasters. An industrial appeals judge will hear arguments starting July 21 in Mount Vernon. Seven workers, five men and two women, died in the Tesoro refinery explosion on April 2, 2010, in Anacortes. A six-month investigation by the Department of Labor & Industries determined that the incident was preventable.

► In the Peninsula Daily News — Arbitrator sides with union in dispute with Clallam CountyA union representing Clallam County employees has won a grievance against the county and a significant award in arbitration. County officials say they won’t honor the award to Teamsters Local 589 because it is illegal to pay hourly employees for time they did not work and that if forced to do so, layoffs are possible.




TPP-democracy► In the USA Today — Trans-Pacific Partnership needs reform before it will help workers (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — The final TPP must include rules against currency manipulation, must ditch the rigged legal system called investor-state-dispute settlement, must also include strong “rules of origin,” must include climate change commitments, and the labor and environmental rules of the TPP must not be merely enforceable, but also enforced.

► In the People’s World — GOP funding bill would force the NLRB to lay off one-third of its staff — The Obama administration is blasting a Republican-authored money bill for the National Labor Relations Board, the Labor Department and other agencies, saying the cuts would force the NLRB to lay off one-third of its staff.

► From Politico — Battle lines drawn over Ex-Im renewal — The battle over Ex-Im could upend a must-pass highway bill that lawmakers are scrambling to pass before the end of the month.




alito-samuel► From In These Times — Calm down: SCOTUS’s ‘Friedrichs’ case won’t mean end of American labor movement — A Supreme Court ruling in favor of Friedrichs would legally and morally permit some workers to be “free riders” — individuals who take advantage of what the union by law must provide them without paying for it. Perhaps more important, it would disregard the fundamental reasoning behind the NLRA-protected “union security clauses.” The law was intended to encourage collective bargaining, and if some workers could opt out of supporting collective bargaining, legislators reasoned, they would weaken the institution. But there are many other reasons to think that, win or lose on this case, the labor movement may not be as seriously damaged as many now fear.

► From AP — Medicaid enrollment surges, stirs worry about state budgets — More than a dozen states that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have seen enrollments surge way beyond projections, raising concerns that the added costs will strain their budgets when federal aid is scaled back starting in two years.




► The latest video from AFSCME takes a look at the Republican presidential candidates and uses their own words to decide what type of bosses they would be.


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